Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Jan 2007 18:06 UTC, submitted by danwarne
Microsoft "Here's a little thought experiment to take into the New Year. Not as difficult as Schrodinger's Cat, but thought provoking nevertheless. Imagine that you woke up tomorrow to a world without Microsoft. Not a world where Microsoft never existed, but one where it hit some hidden critical corporate mass and imploded, or it was discovered that the Windows source code was actually the DNA sequence for red cabbage, and all the directors disappeared to a hidden undersea stronghold. Whatever really... Microsoft existed and now it doesn't."
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A much better world
by proftv on Mon 1st Jan 2007 19:33 UTC
Member since:

We would actually see some real competition in the operating system market, leading to more product choice, compatibility, innovation, and a drop in pricing as companies competed for sales. It would be a much better world.

Reply Score: 5

RE: A much better world
by macisaac on Mon 1st Jan 2007 20:25 in reply to "A much better world"
macisaac Member since:

NOTE: I love/d 80s computers. Felt much more fun back then. However...

If we didn't/hadn't had a Microsoft + Windows (or DOS), I would imagine we'd have been stuck in the world of 80s computing. That is, proprietary hardware running proprietary OSes, most of which would be incompatible with everyone else. So, imagine program X would have to come out not in one (or _maybe_ two) versions, but SEVEN, each for the very different OSes and architectures it might run on.

What MS gave us (along with all the bad stuff yes), was the idea of separating out the hardware from the OS, giving hardware much greater diversity (not stuck on the OS-makers hardware) hence greater competition and choice in that regard, but less competition in the OS arena. (I remember back in the day someone (he was putting me on) talking to me about actually being able to build you own computer, something that just seemed incredible back then in the world of commodores, apples, trs80s, etc.)

That said, since software producers generally only have to worry about getting their product working on one platform, this makes life easier for them, hence I'd imagine you see a greater diversity in that realm as well. In the end, it's really only the OS that you find a decrease in diversity and competition (you can throw in the office suite too, but that's a separate matter).

And yes folks, the above is the comment of a branded linux "zealot"...

Anyhow, I know the article is actually about what would happen if MS disappeared now, not if they'd never existed. In that case, I of course don't know, but I'd suspect it'd be up the Dells, HPs, and Gateways of the world to decide on what they want to support (settling on a Linux distro with a big name behind it, Novell for instance, would seem to make the most logical sense at this point). I doubt Apple would see a huge increase though (some maybe, but not to the level of being the new Redmond), they're largely stuck in the model I laid above which keeps them in a niche (which they seem to like anyway), not to mention I don't think they could even handle that volume of business, at least not yet.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A much better world
by JamesTRexx on Mon 1st Jan 2007 23:18 in reply to "RE: A much better world"
JamesTRexx Member since:

I doubt we'd still be stuck with proprietary OS' because someone would still have started an OS like the *BSD's just to be able to run something on that proprietary hardware they got their hands on.
Microsoft didn't cause the birth of *BSD and GNU/Linux, people with curiousity and imagination did.

Edited 2007-01-01 23:29

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A much better world
by axilmar on Tue 2nd Jan 2007 14:08 in reply to "RE: A much better world"
axilmar Member since:

"If we didn't/hadn't had a Microsoft + Windows (or DOS), I would imagine we'd have been stuck in the world of 80s computing."

It's a sad day today. IT and CS are going downhill. The world will be destroyed! :-)

Reply Parent Score: 1